Saturday, 21 March 2009


Back in the 60's when the Museum entrance was on the corner of Meadowside, opposite Commercial Street, they used to have a doorman in uniform who would open the door for you then give directions to the various rooms. Well near to that corner reception area where he stood, they had a shrunken head on display. This very one above as a matter of fact.
I remember a few folk considered it to be a model, because, being the size of a tennis ball, it looked like a doll.
So if there are still any doubters out there, I can confirm it was indeed a real human head.
Information from the original Dundee Museum catalogue is that it comes from Ecuador, the Jivarro tribe to be exact, and dates back to the late 19th/early 20th Century. Similar details on the net backs this up.
Not knowing what was involved, I checked Wikipedia to find out what the shrinking process entailed and apparently the skull is removed along with all the fatty tissue, then the skin is boiled in water & tannin, finally once the shrivelled flesh is dried & prepared, it is stuffed and remoulded back into shape.
Don't go trying that at home now!!
On a lighter note, this chap wouldn't have been too out of place in the late 60's with a hairstyle like his!


  1. I know I'm late to this party, but they had the people from the uni forensics department have a look at it a wee while back. Verdict: monkey head in a wig. Sorry. It is genuinely a shrunken head though, just not a human head.

    1. i would be interested in buying it....who has it today?

  2. that is tsantsa...they don't have the shape of a human head...but that is a human head....those people at that university are incorrect.